The composer of Tajikistan’s national anthem, Suleiman Yudakov, didn’t have the greatest start in life. He was an orphan and a Bukharan Jew – two groups that didn’t fare well in the Soviet Union.
But he fell so hard in love with music, he studied it until he was admitted into Moscow Conservatory, then into the ranks of the Soviet Union’s leading composers.
Dilshod Nazarov, the Tajik winner of the men’s hammer at the Olympics (that’s him in the picture), probably doesn’t know that story, but I imagine he can identify with Yudakov’s life. Dilshod, himself, beat enormous odds to win his country’s first ever gold medal. Age 34, in his fourth Olympics, an old man of the sport, he wasn’t expected to win, but did, showing just what you can do if you work hard.
What’s the country’s anthem actually sound like?
Like a Tajik army parading past a dictator. Which is a bit odd given the lyrics are about as far from that aggressive image as you can get:
Our beloved country
We are happy to see your pride
Let your happiness and prosperity be forever
We have reached this day since ancient times
We stand under your flag, under your flag
Tajikistan was one of nine countries to win their first ever Olympic gold medal at Rio along with Singapore, Kosovo, Côte d’Ivoire, Puerto Rico, Jordan, Fiji, Bahrain and Vietnam. You can hear all their anthems by clicking on those links! Only 59 anthems were played in all, which is pretty rubbish when you think that’s only about a quarter of the world’s songs, but that’s sport for you.
I am missing the Olympics already 😦